Hamas crackdown, Saudi pressure fuel hopes as Obama calls on Israel to make ‘difficult choices.’
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The chances that U.S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks will continue beyond next month’s deadline appeared to improve this week, after an Egyptian court banned the activities of Hamas and seized its assets. At the same time, a Saudi billionaire flew to Ramallah to encourage Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to make peace.
This past Sunday, one of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ top aides said, “The resumption of [peace] talks requires tangible steps, the first of them a freeze on settlements.”
It’s hard not to be overcome with a sense of déjà vu. Ten months ago, Israel ordered a 10-month freeze on settlement building, with the hopes of resuming peace talks. So what happened? Peace talks did resume, just last month. That was all well and good, until the Palestinians decided to play games.
WASHINGTON (JTA) — A letter is circulating among U.S. senators urging President Barack Obama to keep the Israelis and Palestinians at the negotiating table.
The letter, initiated by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), thanks Obama for restarting direct peace talks and notes the threat to their success from what it calls “enemies of peace” Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.
In the minefields of Middle East peace diplomacy, what you see is often not what you get. Over the years both Israeli and Palestinian leaders have become adept at maneuvers that conceal their real goals. The fact is that distinguishing reality from diplomatic and political posturing is difficult in the best of times.